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Travel Business Lounge | For Travel and Tour Entrepreneurs

Travel Business Lounge | For Travel and Tour Entrepreneurs

By Kara Myers
Welcome to the Travel Business Lounge, a place that celebrates female entrepreneurs doing big things in the tourism industry and that aims to inspire other women to do the same.

Tune in each week as your host, Kara Myers, interviews successful travel planners, tour operators, and travel influencers paving the way in the tourism industry. Speaking from experience, each guest shares business hacks, marketing strategies, and productivity tips that that will help you take immediate action in starting and scaling the travel business of your dreams.
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014: How This Ex-Amazon Manager Launched Her Own Sustainable Tour Booking Platform | Hilary Matson of Yūgen Earthside
Today's guest left her comfortable job at Amazon to launch a sustainable tour booking platform that connects eco-minded travelers with ethical tour operators around the world. Hilary Matson founded Yugen Earthside in 2020, despite a global pandemic and no prior experience in the travel industry. In this episode, she shares her process for screening new tour operators, some of the unexpected challenges of running an OTA, and the social media platform that has been most effective in helping her grow her business. Hilary also opens up about experiencing self doubt as a female entrepreneur and her biggest piece of advice for other women considering a dramatic career change.
October 19, 2021
013: How to 10x Tour Bookings With Pinterest | Louise Cottrell of Travel Pinners
If you run any type of travel business -- whether that be a travel planning agency or a tour business, a multi day retreat -- and you're NOT using Pinterest, I'm here to tell you today that you are sitting on a gold mine. Pinterest is an amazing lead generation tool,not just for bloggers or influencers, but for all travel brands Today, I chat with Louise Cottrell, who is a Pinterest expert who specialises in helping travel brands reach more clients and increase sales through Pinterest. As she says in this episode, Pinterest is a user-generated visual search engine -- not a social media platform -- which is why travel-related images and content do so well. And unlike Instagram or Facebook where the content you put out is only shown to your followers UNLESS you're using paid ads, Pinterest, by design, wants to make your content discoverable to new users. I think it's similar to TikTok's For You Page, in that sense. So it's much easier to get your content out to different users and to go viral -- without paying a cent! This episode is full of fantastic tips on how to harness Pinterest to create more leads for your business. Louise and I discuss how travel businesses can use Pinterest to increase bookings, the exact type of content you should be creating to generate more leads, and best practices for using Pinterest in 2021.
October 12, 2021
012: How Radical Course Correction Can Save Your Business | Priyanka Zielinski of Dubai By Foot
Today’s episode is a great one for anyone looking for inspiration on how to course correct when things go wrong in business.  The last nearly two years have put an incredible strain on the travel industry and businesses around the world have had to innovate to survive. This ability to be dynamic and adapt is absolutely essential in this environment, and I don’t think anyone does that better than Priyanka Zielinski. Pri and I speak specifically about the strategies she applied to save DC By Foot — and I’ll tell you now it involved completely reimagining their original business model. We also then talk about how she went on to found Dubai by foot and the ways in which she had to quickly adapt her business there once becoming more familiar with some of the cultural nuances of the city. Finally we discussed her new book while the Ultimate Family Business Survival Guide, which speaks on the pandemic and also more specifically on what family businesses in India need to do to survive. Pri is a master of adapting businesses in difficult situations and I think she offers a lot of incredible insight, especially for any tour businesses that work with OTAs , or online travel agencies such as Airbnb Experiences, Viator, or Get Your Guide. She really breaks down the strategies she used to optimize her tour listings on those pages and very quickly rise to the top of those platforms, this episode also includes lots of super actionable tips for that.
October 5, 2021
011: The Mindset Shift That Every Female Entrepreneur Needs to Hear | Yulia Denisyuk of Genius Womxn
Hey everyone welcome back to episode 11 of the travel business lounge the place where we celebrate and learn from female entrepreneurs in the travel industry. Today's episode is especially close to my heart. I speak with Julia Denisyuk about the importance of women supporting one another and what can be achieved when we see each other as allies rather than competition. In addition to being an award winning travel writer and photographer, and a successful business owner, she is also the founder of the platform Genius Womxn, which is a community for creative women in the travel space to connect and learn from one another. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
September 28, 2021
010: Scaling A 6 Figure Business Through YouTube With Sarah Funk
Sarah Funk is a YouTube genius who has had incredible success with her travel channel, which is all about her hometown of New York City. We chat about how she went from being broke, living with her parents, and running a not-so-successful travel blog to developing multiple, lucrative income streams, and gaining more than 14 million views and 140k thousand subscribers in less than 3 years. This episode is great if you want to learn some really practical YouTube tips and strategies which can be applied to pretty much any travel business. Not only does she earn money as a travel content creator on YouTube, but she also has used YouTube to build a successful tour business in New York as well as a vacation planning service, in addition to many other travel-related income streams. She also shares tips for business owners who are just starting out and reveals the exact steps she took to earn MORE money through virtual tours than she would have normally with in-person tours during the pandemic. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
September 7, 2021
009: How This Reluctant Entrepreneur Transformed Her Passion Into A Profession | Anna Egleston of Above Yoga
In this episode, we hear the story of how Anna Egleston, founder of Above Yoga, transitioned her business from a side hustle to a full-time gig. She is super honest about some of the struggles that she has dealt with since starting her business in 2017, including the fact that she never actually wanted to be a business owner. She enjoyed the security that a "normal" job offered her, but she just couldn't ignore her passion. So today you'll get to hear her story of taking that leap of faith during the pandemic. We discuss what pushed her to finally make the decision to go full time with her retreat business,what she learned after leading her first retreat, and how she's had to pivot her business during the pandemic to ensure that her guests are well taken care of and feel safe. She also shares her interest in giving back to society, practising inclusivity, sustainability, and community-mindedness.
August 31, 2021
008: Marketing Secrets From A Top-Selling Food Tour Business | Jessica Baumgart of Delicious Denver
Jessica Baumgart launched Delicious Denver Food Tours just 4 years ago after falling in love with food tours while traveling with her husband. "It was our new way to discover a new city," she reminisces. However, what started as a side hustle quickly evolved into a highly profitable business. And despite the incredible challenges imposed on both the tourism and hospitality industries in the last year of the pandemic, Delicious Denver has achieved the seemingly impossible: in July 2021, they hosted a record-breaking number of guests on their food tours. Jessica breaks down the exact marketing strategies she used to grow her food tour business with zero budget. She also reveals the exact pitch she uses to secure partnerships with popular local restaurants. Jessica then discusses the logistical challenges of running a food tour -- some of which may come as a surprise to new business owners. Finally, she discusses the ways in which her business has grown through hiring guides and outsourcing. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
August 24, 2021
007: Building a Business with Your Best Friend | Kristen & Megan of Legit Trips
Kristen and Megan first bonded over their love of travel and shared study abroad experiences. Now, more than 10 years later, they are not just best friends but business partners. In 2016 they founded Legit Trips, a boutique tour operator specialising in group trips for 30-40 somethings. The idea for the business came about on a beach in Belize, at the tail-end of a stressful trip with 18 of their friends. Knowing that the experience would have been much better if they had organised everything on behalf of everyone but also understanding the insane amount of work that would entail, Kristen and Megan came up with a plan: "we're coming back here next year and people will pay us for it." This is a great episode to listen to if you've ever considered going into business with a friend or are curious about the benefits of having a cofounder or business partner. They also share how their tour business achieved incredible organic growth.  SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
August 17, 2021
006: Running a Successful Travel Agency As An Influencer | Amanda Bisack of Chica Travelista
Amanda Bisack first discovered her passion for travel while touring around the UK as a dancer. Fast forward 12 years and dozens of countries later, she is now a successful travel blogger and influencer running her own travel agency. In today's episode, Amanda shares how she got started in blogging and the ways in which she's managed to stand out in the competitive influencer market. She also offers great insight into how she launched her agency, Travelista Travels, and how her two businesses benefit one another. This is a great episode for anyone interested in influencer marketing or travel blogging. We've had a few guests speak about their experience running a boutique travel agency, but this is the first episode in which I chat with someone who has created a travel agency in partnership with a much larger travel brand. If you are interested in starting your own travel planning business but don't want to do it completely on your own and would prefer to have the backing of a bigger organisation, this is a great option that many young entrepreneurs often overlook. Amanda shares her experience running this type of business, plus tips on how she uses her agency to reach more brands as an influencer. She offers some really interesting insight on the relationship between travel bloggers and agents, so please don't miss out. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
August 10, 2021
005: How She Built Her Travel Empire | Kelly Lewis of Women's Travel Fest
Kelly Lewis is the woman doing it all. She is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the first travel guidebook series written specifically for women. In 2014 she started Women's Travel Fest, the world's largest conference for women who travel. She then launched her own tour company called Damesly, which provides trips around the world for professional and creative women. And most recently, she has written a book called Tell Her She Can't, a manifesto dedicated to every woman who has ever been told she is not enough. If you think she sounds like a total badass paving the way for women within the travel space and beyond, you're absolutely correct. Kelly is a leader and champion for other women, who has the uncanny ability to balance a dozen different spinning plates at the same time. Today we hear how she got her start in travel, how she manages to do so many things at once, and how she finds the confidence to pursue her dreams. If you've ever felt trapped by the bigness of an idea -- whether that's starting a new business, writing a book, or perhaps just launching a new tour -- this is the episode for you. Kelly is such a go-getter that I promise you can't help but feel inspired to finally do that thing that you've been afraid to do. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
August 3, 2021
004: Instagram Strategies for Personal Branding as a Travel Advisor | Brianna Glenn of Milk + Honey
Today I have the absolute pleasure of speaking with Brianna Glenn of Milk + Honey, a boutique travel planning agency based in California that specialises in completely customised trips. As you'll hear in the episode, I originally learned about Milk + Honey on Instagram. A friend of mine shared her experience of traveling with them and I was blown away by the personal touches and attention to detail. I reached out to Brianna right away and was thrilled when she agreed to chat to me. This episode is jam packed with tips on digital marketing as a travel brand. Brianna is an absolute hive mind of knowledge on everything related to personal branding and social media. If you want to hear her strategies for finding clients through Instagram and attracting her ideal customer avatar, then you won't want to miss it. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
July 27, 2021
003: How This Tour Start-Up Became the Top Rated Airbnb Experience in NOLA | Quinn LaRoux of NOLA Drag Tours
In today's episode I speak with Quinn Laroux of NOLA Drag Tours -- New Orleans' first drag tour company, which focuses on sharing the city's queer and feminist history. Within the first few months of launching, NOLA Drag Tours was met with resounding success and became the number 1 activity on Airbnb experiences in New Orleans. This is an impressive feat for any start-up tour company, but especially impressive to achieve in New Orleans, which is probably one of the most highly competitive tourism destinations in the country. Quinn talks us through her experience launching a walking tour company, including the major challenges she faced as a queer woman running this business on her own. She also shares an absolutely genius marketing strategy she used to organically grow NOLA Drag Tours so quickly. It's so simple but effective, and something that never would have crossed my mind, so I promise you'll want to stick around to hear it. Now, this episode was originally recorded in the fall of 2020 and unfortunately Quinn is no longer taking bookings for NOLA Drag Tours. The good news is that she's found another job doing something else that she loves after an incredibly difficult year in the tourism industry. Still, her tours will be very much missed. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
July 20, 2021
002: Launching A SURPRISE Travel Agency From Scratch | Charlotte McGhee of Whisked Away
Today's guest is Charlotte McGhee, the founder of Whisked Away, which is a travel agency that exclusively plans mystery trips for clients. Her customers literally have no idea where they're going until it's time to travel, making for a super fun surprise! I had never heard of the concept of surprise travel before discovering Whisked Away, but I absolutely love the idea and think Charlotte has done an amazing job building this business from the ground up. If you've ever dreamed of one day starting your own online travel agency, or maybe you just love planning trips for people and want to know how to turn that passion into a profitable business, then definitely listen in. Charlotte is an open book and really dives into some of the challenges she's faced and what she's learned since starting her mystery travel business in 2017. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
July 20, 2021
001: How Free Tours By Foot Grew From 2k to 72k Bookings Per Month | Canden Arciniega of Free Tours by Foot
In today's episode I have the absolute pleasure of speaking to Canden Arciniega, my good friend and former boss, who is the co-owner and COO of Free Tours by Foot, a 'name your own price' walking tour company that operates in more than a dozen cities around the US and Europe. I actually got my start in the travel industry with Free Tours by Foot back in 2012 as a tour guide in Washington, DC, so this episode is especially dear to my heart. Canden shares how name your own price tours work, including the major benefits and challenges of running this type of business. We'll also learn about the game changing strategy Free Tours by Foot used to increase bookings from 2k per month in 2011 to over 70k per month in the lead up to COVID-19. Now unfortunately there was an issue with my mic at the very start of the recording, so I wasn't able to capture the first few minutes of me welcoming Canden onto the show and us chatting about our adventures in DC. However, the good news is that this means she'll need to come back for another future episode so we can finally share the story of the phantom snake attack from our 6 day cycle ride from DC to Pittsburgh. But the even better news is that the content of this episode is especially good and super actionable. If you're interested in starting a walking tour company or you're looking to expand your current company into different locations, or if you'd like to learn how to diversify your income (because as Canden reveals, there are many other ways to make money as a walking tour business, beyond just through tour bookings) then definitely tune in. Plus at the end she shares some incredible productivity hacks, so make sure you stick around for that. Honestly, she is the most well organized and highly productive person I know, so you definitely won't want to miss her tips. SHOW NOTES: FACEBOOK GROUP: INSTAGRAM:
July 20, 2021
Welcome to the Travel Business Lounge!
Welcome to the Travel Business Lounge, a place that celebrates female entrepreneurs doing big things in the tourism industry and that aims to inspire other women to do the same. Ever wondered… How to launch a successful tour company? How to increase bookings and scale your business? How to get paid to travel? How to use social media to boost sales and connect with clients? How to start your own travel agency from scratch? And, most importantly, how to turn your passion for travel into a lucrative business? The Travel Business Lounge is where we answer all of these questions and more. Tune in each week as your host, Kara Myers, interviews women whose businesses are leading the way in the travel industry. Speaking from experience, each guest shares business hacks, marketing strategies, and productivity tips that that will help you take immediate action in starting and scaling the travel business of your dreams. As you listen to their successes and struggles, you'll learn what it takes to make a profit as a travel agent, tour operator, or travel blogger in today's world. Grab a coffee, hit subscribe, and get ready to learn and feel inspired.
October 27, 2020